As a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, people are always asking me about their GMAT scores and “if I think they’ll get in.” Test scores are certainly one large aspect of the entire MBA admissions process, although allow me to stress that many other things including, most importantly, your professional experience, your future goals, your internships, and how an MBA degree now logically and purposefully ties in to everything, as well as your rec letters and resume all matter a lot, too. That said, what score DOES it take to get in? In my view, one needs a GMAT score between 680- –> 720 to be considered competitive at the “Top Ten” and Ivy League schools, and anything over 720 will put you in a completely different (i.e. read: excellent) ballpark and that is what you should shoot for in terms of really making a great impression with the ad com. I have also found that in working with my own MBA clients over the years, that those who actually take an organized 6-8 week class do slightly better than those who study alone with a book or online. I have also found that scores tend to weigh just a little bit more for international candidates, as it is the best way to evaluate skills across cultural boundaries (i.e. we may not know the name of your undergraduate college in India and how that really compares, so tend to lean just a little more on scores for non-U.S applicants). However, in terms of taking the test more than once — go for it! Two times, certainly. A top score will place you in a top school…especially if you have the strong corporate work experience at a known-name company to back it up. The overall goal is to make you an extremely strong candidate and not give them a reason to say no. A high score will make that even harder.
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